Category Archives: Politics

Anything whatsoever that smacks of politics.

Rev. Al Stumbles

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Tawana Brawley and Rev. Al Sharpton

Many of you know the Reverend Al Sharpton from his MSNBC show, Politics Nation, or from his prominent insertion of himself most recently as spokesperson for Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson, MO. But Rev. Al’s been around a long time.
I first remember him as a spokesperson for a young woman named Tawana Brawley.  Al was a bigger man in those days, with hair styled after the soul singer James Brown. Anyway, Tawana claimed she had been raped by six white men, smeared with feces, and left naked in a garbage bag not far from her former apartment. Rev. Al took on her cause with gusto. Unfortunately, it turned out to have been a hoax. But I don’t remember Al apologizing for all the bloviating charges he made. A pity.
But it didn’t phase Al. He went on to espouse other causes, some of them incredibly troubling and wrong, like those of Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo. This cases should have been protested, and the police should have been castigated for their actions. But I never felt comfortable with him leading the charge. Because he always seemed like he was hiding something. Because he brought alienation to a higher plateau.
He was a fringe actor in those early days, all fire and brimstone bringing the wrath of heaven down on the black people’s oppressors. Al had the look and the deep profundo voice to get the soundbites, and the causes he espoused-and still espouses-are ones that should disturb American society. But there was, and is, something that makes one wonder about his title, the ‘Rev.’ Others mindlessly keep referring to him by it. I’m sorry, but I don’t see anything reverential, penitential, or reflective in him.
Now, it seems, he’s getting lambasted on his tax debts. According to a New York Times investigation, the Rev owes the federal government $3.6 million. Just one state tax lien on a for-profit business, Revals Communications, was originally reported by the Times to total $695,000, but has since been corrected to be $916,000. Naturally, Rev Al denies the allegations. And since he just had a big 60th birthday party at the Four Seasons (one of New York City’s most expensive restaurants, where more than $1 million was raised for his National Action Network), he contends he will be able to pay off all his tax debts. No problems. No worry. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.WizardOfOz_276Pyxurz

What’s so deeply disturbing about this is how we just expect this behavior. He styles himself a reverend, for Christ’s sake, but his National Action Network failed to turn over payroll taxes to the federal government for the last two years. Bills went unpaid to providers, while Rev Al traveled first class to events and protests. What kind of clergyman is this? I’m troubled by his blatant use of the honorific, too, since he has no congregation. More than that, I find it appalling that MSNBC ever gave him his own show, which he continues to star in all the while he leads protests and offers himself as a spokesman for the inevitable grieving families who exist today and will invariably arise tomorrow.  If the Rev is entitled to a soapbox, why not every lunatic in the far right? (Oh, I forgot about Fox News. They’ve already got that, and MSNBC goes after them for that.)

Most seriously, Al has wormed his way into the highest echelons of power, befriending Mayor Bill DeBlasio and President Barack Obama. He sits on political panels giving his insights into national affairs, all the while failing, like Carnival Cruise Lines and so many American companies, to pay the taxes he clearly owes. He obviously likes the finer things in life. He’s slimmed down and taken to wearing impeccably tailored clothes. But he’s still in it for himself, for what he can get and for the power he can grab. Does he now think like Leona Helmsley that “only the little people pay taxes?”

It would be the perfect end for this buffoon if taxes did him in, like Al Capone. Because he may style himself as the Reverend Al, but he’s still a gangster at heart.

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Actions vs. Opinions

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to non other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

[Emphasis added.]

Thomas Jefferson to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut,

January 1, 1802

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

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Trump on Immigration

A brilliant view into the pea brain of one of America’s most well know bloviators, a pillar of bigotry and falsehoods. BTW, Friederich (Fred) Trump, the Donald’s paternal grandfather, immigrated from Kallstadt, Pfalz, Germany in 1885 and became an American citizen in 1892. No endless years of waiting for Grandpa Trump! He was an entrepreneur, as would be many undocumented people in the US today if allowed to be hear legally. The idea that all these immigrants are only coming for your jobs is as preposterous as the idea that Trump has a full head of hair.

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March 6, 2014 · 4:53 pm

McCarthy Redux

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been said to have been a brilliant student at Harvard Law School. But it is hard to reconcile that successful law school experience with the arrogance he has demonstrated, the preposterous claims he has made, and the outrageous policies he espouses. Take, for example, that 2010 speech he made in which

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership...

English: Ted Cruz at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

he alleged that there were 12 communists on the faculty of the law school. Yes, he was that specific: there were 12. And he knew who they were. Sort of. More like he knew who he thought were communists. It was the type of accusation made by that paradigm of virtue, Senator Joe McCarthy (R-Wisconsin), in the early 1950s, when he was getting on a role, the world felt an incredibly dangerous place, and people were building fallout shelters in their backyards because they thought nuclear war with the USSR was imminent. The same Joe McCarthy who averred he had a list of 205 communists working in the US State Department, but who never produced his list of names.

In response to such a scurrilous allegation, the late Senator William J. Fulbright (D-Arkansas) said, “The junior senator from Wisconsin, by his reckless charges, has so preyed upon the fears and hatreds and prejudices of the American people that he has started a prairie fire which neither he nor anyone else may be able to control.” The junior senator from Texas has now entered that same arena, and it seems likely that he has no idea that his words could start a fire even more devastating than McCarthy’s. It is probably useless to point out to Cruz that there are no communists on the Harvard Law faculty, and that law faculties tend to have professors who could be described as ‘left-leaning.’ It is the nature of academics that liberals gravitate to it while conservatives tend to enter businesses. Fortunately, the New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer called him out on this, yet even then his spokesperson insisted that Cruz was speaking the truth. Hardly.

Where else does he go off the rails. Well, given where the country is in the same-sex marriage debate, with a majority of millenials wondering why there’s such fuss about it, Cruz had something to say about Dallas’s mayor marching twice in gay pride parades: “When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that’s a statement and it’s not a statement I agree with.” Ok, homophobic. Check.

Or course, is against abortion. Very Christian. Neanderthal.

Joe McCarthy had a good run. He was born into a devoutly Catholic family. (There seems to be a high correlation between devout Christianity and outrageous politics, but more on that when I write about His Emptiness, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.) He was originally a Democrat but lost his first election, so he switched to the Republican party. He was elected judge of the 10th judicial circuit in Wisconsin in 1939, publishing slanderous materials about his opponent. After serving in the US Marines in World War II, he ran against Robert M. La Follette in 1946, where he accused La Follette of making a profit from the war and failing to join the military to fight. In fact, La Follette bought a radio station with a slim profit margin and was too old to join the military, but those truths meant nothing to McCarthy. He won, showing just how bad a job the American public does sorting out truth from fiction. On his first day in Congress, he called a press conference to give his views on how to end a coal miners’ strike then in full swing. (Does that arrogance sound familiar?)

He went along for a few year, failing to capture the nation’s attention. But then an investigation started into allegations that he had taken bribes from the Pepsi-Cola corporation. If proved, he might have been expelled from the Senate. He consulted with his closest advisors, which included a Catholic priest, who advised hi

Joe McCarthy - Colorized

Joe McCarthy – Colorized (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

m to begin a campaign to rid the government of communists. On February 9, 1950, in a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, he held up that infamous piece of paper that he said contained the names of communists working for the government. It must have been then that he realized he could soar on slander and innuendo. He ran for the senate seat of the senator who investigated his allegations of communists in the woodwork and won. By that point senators were afraid of him and he continued his outrageous demagoguery.

What did him in was television. He took on the US Army in an investigation of undesirables and it was televised. People of all stripes could finally see what a bully he was, and how he offered no proof for his shocking claims. Harry Truman said of him, “This is the first time in my experience, and I was ten years in the Senate, that I ever heard of a Senator trying to discredit his own Government before the world….” The most dramatic remonstrance was Joseph Welch‘s comment to McCarthy after the senator was ripping into a witness: “Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

McCarthy was finally censured by the Senate for his behavior. He died of acute hepatitis brought on by alcoholism in 1957.

Do you seen the similarities between Senator Cruz and Senator McCarthy? What can be expected is that Cruz will eventually go too far. He has already alienated most members of the Senate. No one likes him. But he doesn’t seem to care, and like Joe McCarthy goes blithely on stating absurdities and horrendous policies. He will crash and burn, but not before much collateral damage is done. Reasonable people can only hope that his time on the national stage is short.

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The Politics of Silliness

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Allen West in Joe McCarthy's Neighborhood

Allen West in Joe McCarthy’s Neighborhood (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The latest news on American politics has President Obama declining to play any more games with the Republican opposition, and member of that opposition thinking about how they are going to force the president over a barrel with their intransigence on raising the national debt level in the new year. I hate to point out to the GOP that they lost the election, Mitt’s not in the White House, and both the senate and the house are going to welcome some more Democrats in January. Yet they still think that they have leverage. For what, I wonder? For ‘entitlement’ cuts?

They’ve essentially got nothing left to work with. Boehner and his merry band are going to be held responsible for any rise in taxes that may take place if the White House and the House of Representatives can’t come up with a bargain. If they hold the debt ceiling hostage again and bring the country to the point of default, they will have abrogated their right to govern. The GOP at that point should cease to exist.

Why are they pursuing such silly politics? Can they not separate running for office from governing? We’ve got a country out there that is rife with problems, that needs responsible leaders who try to work together to actually help solve problems. Why is this such a difficult concept for Republicans to understand. More and more they remind me of Captain Queeg in “The Caine Mutiny”, a marvelous film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046816/) about a mentally unstable ship’s captain who is finally relieved of his command. I mean, how much more craziness do Republicans have to show us before we need to remove them from power? Por ejemplo:

  • ”And what a bizarre time we’re in, when a judge will say to little children that you can’t say the pledge of allegiance, but you must learn that homosexuality is normal and you should try it.” Michele Bachman

  • ”This was a war of Obama’s choosing. This is not something the United States has actively prosecuted or wanted to engage in.”

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, rewriting history while speaking at a Connecticut fundraiser about the war in Afghanistan, which President Bush launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (July 2, 2010)

  • ”I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

    Mitt Romney, after being asked whether he follows NASCAR racing (February 2012

I haven’t even bothered to quote Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock on their ideas about rape, pregnancy, and women. Or Allen West, a completely bat-shit crazy black conservative who believes Obama is a marxist. This club seems to have an endless supply of loonies.

And then, of course, there are the Republican governors who, through serendipitous happenstance, find themselves in a state government controlled by their own party. What do they do? Well, for one they want to gut unions under the guise of making their state a ‘right-to-work’ state, where, as so disingenuously put it, no one can force a worker to pay union dues. They appear to be ignorant of the fact that all workers can opt out of unions right now, without this further legislation, so that can’t be the reason. Of course, it has to be to gut the unions, which traditionally vote democratic, and to get the same work for less pay. There is no evidence that Michigan’s hastily passed legislation will do workers any good. http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/12/11/1314751/snyder-right-to-work/

When a governing party puts members in charge of committees they are antithetical to, when it lies blatantly to the people it is supposed to help, and when its leaders are prepared to allow the country to default on its bills (bills this party helped run up in the last 12 years), then it’s time for them to go. So GOP, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

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What, Exactly, Do Republicans Believe?

I believe the results from the election this year are in and President Obama won, while the Democrats picked up some seats in the senate and house. I’d say I was certain in that belief, but many of the members of the opposition are simply not. These poor deluded members of our body politic think the election was stolen! Talk about sore losers.

English: Savonarola monument, Ferrara.

English: Savonarola monument, Ferrara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I will grant you that, when you offer an incredibly weak, tone-deaf, Teflon-like candidate and pair him with a partner who would make Savonarola look good, and when you approve a platform (that is, a list of ideas and policies that you as a party believe in) that overtly tells gays, women, and undocumented immigrants that they are lesser than you, it’s likely that you would also be so moronic as to believe the loss was all due to machinations by the other side. Really, you give stupidity an entirely new depth of meaning.

Ever since Newt changed the goal from governing to winning, gaining seats and power has been the GOP’s pole star. So I see how much this election, the one that Mitch McGoniff insisted he would deny to the president, must mean to you. And the only response you can come up with is to promise to destroy the sandbox you’re playing in if the Democrats don’t give in to your demands.

This is where I’m in a quandary. I’m assuming your demands reflect what you believe in. So it’s safe to say you do not want to raise taxes on the rich. After all, you took a solemn pledge to St. Grover that you would never, ever, ever, even consider it. Why, I wonder? Who is this schoolyard bully who forced you to take this ridiculous pledge? And what would possibly happen to you if you broke that promise? Would the sky fall? Would the earth cease to spin? I’m sure you think it’s much more personal than that. You might have to face a virulent primary opponent, one more anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-global warming, and anti-government than even you are. But what if all of you decided to shove the pledge where the sun doesn’t shine? What might happen then?

Ok, so I get you want to protect the rich. But there must  be more, because you don’t give a shit about the middle class, and let’s not even talk about the poor. I have decided that you have a biased view of humanity in general. Since you have always been the party of business, I assume you think like many businessmen do. That is, you never believe that your employees are giving you the work you’re paying for, you always think they’re screwing you up the wazoo, and it’s clear to you that they want to take you for all you’re worth. Ok, ok, I know there are still some old Fezziwigs out there who truly care about their workers and their businesses, but the majority of you have joined the firm of Scrooge & Marley. It’s profits, profits, profits–that’s the bottom line. Workers are just interchangeable parts. No need to worry about them.

So you want to cater to the rich and not give a damn about middle class workers. As for the poor, I would bet a million that you think they are in the regrettable position they are because they are lazy, shiftless, no-account loafers, alcohol and drug abusers who want to rip off government the same way your workers rip you off. They’ve got no ambition and they are stupid, to boot. So why bother with them?

“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” by Thomas Nast. Harper’s Weekly, January 19, 1870. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ah, it’s becoming clearer. Protect the wealthy, barely tolerate the middle class working population, let the poor die by the wayside. “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” We sure have a hell of a lot of the former, so Ebenezer would feel pretty good about that. But what about those other odious groups? Women, for example. Well, we know you don’t want to pay a cent of public money towards women’s health care and you will never forgive the Supreme Court for its finding in Roe v. Wade. By the way, really nice to see how many fat, happy, white Republicans you picked for committee heads recently. What is it about women you’re afraid of? Must be something big.

There’s no question you still carry the seeds of racism within you. The blacks who join your cause are extremist to the core. As for the rest of the country’s blacks, you’re happy developing laws to ‘prevent voter fraud’ (ain’t happening, guys!) or, as it should be called, resurrected poll taxes. And you  have just about assured your party that the largest demographic of voters, Latinos, will not vote for you again. That leaves only the gays, and you certainly don’t want to offer them a seat at the table. They’d destroy your happy marriages, wouldn’t they?

So what we’ve got is a pro-rich, anti-middle class, anti-poor, anti-black, anti-women, anti-Latino, anti-gay party who is wondering where the hell they went wrong. And I saved the most nonsensical anti- for last. This party is anti-government. Yep, if elected they would move heaven and earth to dissemble the government. We’ve seen it countless times. John Bolton appointed as UN ambassador even though he hates the idea of a United Nations, congressmen like Todd Akins and Richard Mourdock with a dearth of science knowledge on the science and technology committee.

This has got to stop. The best thing for this country would be for the GOP to implode upon itself, like communism did in the old USSR. Let a new party arise, one interested in governing and happy to deal with facts and problems common to us all. That’s what I’ve got on my Xmas list this year!

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John McCain, You’ve Lost It!

Senator John McCain (Republican, Arizona) is a stark reminder of why term limits are often considered. Once a dashing politician who served his country proudly and well, he’s now become a millstone around America’s neck. One wonders if his many selves have conversations late in the dark hours of the night. Could he harbor a

English: John McCain official photo portrait.

English: John McCain official photo portrait. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

resentment against “that one”, the current president who beat him handily in ’08 and just won again?

He was the quintessential ‘maverick’ of the Senate, voting his principles, not his party. During the 2008 campaign, he corrected one of the lunatic fringe who insisted again that Barack Obama was not a citizen, was born in Kenya, and was a Muslim. (This fruitcake probably still believes that Jews ate Christian babies, that black cats and witches are one in the same, and white people are losing control of ‘their’ country. Well, have to give her the last one, although no one ever ‘owns’ a country forever, and well they shouldn’t.)

I admired him then, but something since that time has unhinged him and loosened all the important connections in his brain. His ‘maverickness’ is now more obstructionist, and I cannot find any purpose for his crazy antics, especially regarding Susan Rice, other than that the GOP was Kerry in the administration so they can try to move Scott Brown back into the Senate. The GOP is machiavellian enough to plan such a thing and McCain, Lindsey Graham (R-S Carolina), and Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) [BTW, who the hell is Kelly Ayotte and why is anyone paying attention to the junior senator from NH, elected in 2011?]

There seems to be a madness playing out in John McCain. It is sad to watch, because he has failed his primary duty as a US senator, to serve the interests of his country. He went to the dark side of the Tea Party and it appears they have his brain, or what’s left of it. His daughter, Meghan, makes more sense than her father. We can only hope that he disappears as quickly as possible from the political stage, like his bud Joe Lieberman. We wish the same about Senator Graham, whose resemblance to a large rat is uncanny and who’s smarminess is unmatched. (I know,

Kelly Ayotte - Caricature

Kelly Ayotte – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

it’s an ad hominem attack, but he sooooooo pisses me off with his holier than thou attitude. It’s revolting he has the power he has in the senate.)

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